This article has been updated to include a statement from Victoria Post-Acute Center.
A nursing home in El Cajon now has an ominous distinction; the nursing facility in San Diego County with the most reported COVID-19 deaths. The same facility was cited in 2018 for failing to meet federal standards for disease prevention.
Data from the California Department of Public Health shows 15 current or former patients of Victoria Post-Acute Center have died from the novel coronavirus. The state also reported the nursing home has had19 staff and 23 residents test positive for the virus.
Nursing homes in San Diego County and throughout the country have become hotspots for COVID-19 as many residents struggle to fight the disease due to weakened immune systems and underlying health conditions.
But the scope of the tragedy inside nursing homes has yet to be fully discovered. Questions surrounding the facilities reporting methods and the accuracy of those reports have been raised.
That, however, may soon change. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced a new requirement for nursing homes to report cases of COVID-19 to all residents and their families, as well as directly to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.)
Records from Medicare show the facility has an above-average rating. However, in 2018, Victoria Post Acute was cited twice for having “ for infection control violations.” As a result, the nursing home was required to “provide and implement an infection prevention and control program.”
The El Cajon nursing home is not alone in regards to a lack of programs aimed at staving off infectious diseases. A new report from the Government Accountability Office shows that nearly half of all nursing homes in the country failed to meet federal guidelines needed to fight widespread infections.
Click here for Medicare's profile of Victoria Post Acute.
NBC 7 Investigates contacted the facility’s executive director about the rise in deaths. The director, Colton Levar, said that he did not have time to respond to the deaths inside the facility and the lack of disease protocols.
Update – May 28: A week after NBC 7 reported this story, the Executive Director of Victoria Post-Acute Colton Levar sent NBC 7 a statement regarding the conditions inside the nursing home. In part, Colton Levar said no resident or employee has tested positive for COVID-19 in the last three weeks. “We are laser-focused on infection control, and are committed to taking all appropriate actions within our control to protect our residents from the adverse effects of the virus,” the statement reads. To read the full statement, click here.